Scholarships and Awards Committee 2019-2020

College Committees – Scholarships and Awards – End of Year Report

Committee Members: Omar Ashour, Sarkar Sourish, Ashley Sullivan, Jodie Styers, Kristen McCauley, Rick Huang, Kristy McCoy, Kellie Jircitano, Ex Officio: Ken Miller, Student: Mercedes Myers

Meeting Dates/ Number of Times Met:

The committee met five times (October 21, 2019; and February 12, February 18, February 19, and February 26, 2020).


Charge 1: Select winners for Walker, Turnbull, Fergusson, First-year, & Kochel awards.

Progress and discussion:

The charge was addressed in Spring 2020. The winners of the awards were selected as follows:

  1. Eric A. and Josephine S. Walker Award: Angela Dale
  2. Outstanding First-Year Student Award: Brooke Johnston
  3. Irvin H. Kochel Award: Brianna Scanga
  4. Thomas H. Turnbull Award: Kara Dobson
  5. T. Reed Ferguson Award: Jacob Pelloni

Was the charge completed or not? This is a standing charge and will continue next year.

Charge 2: Identify and implement processes to publicize student awards and streamline applications to increase nominations.

The student member indicated that students do not usually receive an email (communication in general) about the college-wide awards. This is probably because most of these awards do not accept self-nominations.

One reason for low nominations might be due to the fact that many faculty members do not have information about their students’ service activities. Thus, it would be difficult for them to assess/nominate their students. A badge or score system could be the answer to this challenge. The student mentioned that there is a feature on Behrend Sync (Behrend bucket list) that allows the students to log their service hours along with the hours of attending various campus events. The feature does not show a score. Not sure who has access to this feature to see students’ contributions. Jaime McCaslin (Student Leadership and Involvement) could have the answer.

The number of nominations was very low last year. Suggestions to increase awareness and nominations:

  • Emails from the committee to faculty and staff (more frequent emails) starting in the Fall (Omar will take care of this)
  • Ask the advisers of students’ clubs and organizations to nominate students (Omar)
  • SGA announcements (emails, Behrend Beacon, flyers (not sure if effective), social media, etc.) (Mercedes)
  • Add something/description about the college-wide awards on Behrend’s website (Ken)
  • Attend one of the academic leadership team meetings to inform school directors and help us publicize the awards by sending emails to program chairs and maybe through other venues (Omar)

Progress and discussion:

Many of the suggestions mentioned above, were used to solicit more nominations. We received more nominations this year (21 total).

Was the charge completed or not? The charge was completed.

Charge 3: Identify and/or create additional campus community rewards for faculty engagement and success (low, middle, and high stakes).

Progress and discussion:

The committee needed more clarification on this charge. Omar will send an email to Melanie Hetzel-Riggin asking for clarification.

Based on the committee's initial understanding, they suggested the following:

  • If a faculty make nominations, this can be part of their service because nomination takes time and effort.
  • A certificate of appreciation could be sent to faculty members who are engaged and nominate students frequently.

We received the following clarification:

"Rewards can be anything—it could be a thank you or a certificate or something really small, or it could be monetary, or it could be some sort of actual award or reward.

Engagement is more about getting faculty more involved with students outside of the classroom. Many faculty already do this but are not rewarded for it in any way. Others would if they could see some sort of tangible reward for it.

Basically, how are ways we can reinforce faculty for engaging in the life of the students and in the community at large outside of the classroom and their research? If faculty are already doing that, how can we recognize and reward them better for their work?"

Was the charge completed or not? The committee suggested continuing this charge next year.

Suggested New Charge

During one of the committee meetings, there was a question about the scholarships and if the committee is involved in any of them. The answer was that this committee is not involved in any scholarship. Some of the members suggested that we might need to change the name to reflect this. Something like “Undergraduate Awards Committee?”


Submitted by Omar Ashour